Regardless of level, most music merchandising programs focus on musical history and promotion, as well as merchandising, musical techniques, and music management. Community colleges offering programs in music merchandising provide the subject as a concentration or specialization within an associate's degree program in music. Students take courses in music history and ensembles as well as marketing and management. In addition to a high school diploma or GED, students must audition to enroll in the assoicate's program.
In bachelor's degree programs, students learn to copyright songs and recorded materials, and they study the laws surrounding the music industry. They also learn to promote live musical events, manage bands, promote musical products, and sell merchandise. Applicants must have a strong GPA or background in music. Students studying music business at the graduate level take seminar courses in marketing, financial accounting, management, and music. Those wanting to enroll in the master's program must submit previous academic transcripts, current resume, and have a music industry background.
Associate of Science in Music Merchandising
Students are expected to complete core courses related to music theory, music history, musical technique, and ensembles. Concentration courses provide students with a basic understanding of business administration, marketing, and management principles. Since the program covers multiple facets of music and the music industry, some schools require students pursuing an associate's degree to complete a thorough musical audition before gaining enrollment.
Courses within an associate's degree program teach students the principles of music, because understanding how a song works is important for understanding how to sell it. Some examples of course topics include:
- Aural comprehension
- Musical interpretation
- Music promotion
- Business basics
- Applied music
- Wholesaling music
Bachelor of Science in Music Merchandising
A large portion of degree programs in music merchandising focus on specific business principles such as leadership, organization, financial accounting, and marketing. Students learn to direct these principles towards the music industry so, they go on to manage artistic acts or entire music studios.
Like in the associate-level program, the core and elective courses commonly found within a bachelor's degree program in music merchandising focus on both business-related and musical topics. Some examples include:
- Music industry introduction and history
- Management principles
- Economics and marketing
- Financial accounting
- Consumer behavior
- Retail and sales
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Master of Science in Music Business
While there are no graduate programs related specifically to music merchandising, there are some master's degree programs that prepare students for advanced careers within the music business. Students in these programs learn about the specific skills involved with high-level music management, including contract negotiations, music licensing, and financial arrangements.
The core courses found within a master's degree program cover topics relating to all segments of the music industry. Elective courses relate only to artist management, promotions, or global music management. Some examples of core and elective courses include:
- Music industry and law
- Advanced artist management
- Current state of the music industry
- Live music management
- Music business and entrepreneurship
- Ethics of the music industry
Popular Career Options
An associate's degree program in music merchandising can prepare students for further study at the bachelor's degree level or for entry-level careers in the music business. Some job titles might include:
- Music retail manager
- Music sales assistant
- Record label assistant
- Studio assistant
A bachelor's degree program in music merchandising can prepare students for jobs with studios or record labels, as well as management positions for bands or solo artists. Potential job titles include:
- Artist manager
- Music marketing associate
- Record label manager
- Venue manager
- Music agent
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in the general field of advertising, promotions and marketing management were expected to increase 9% between 2014 and 2024, which was above-average growth (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes earned a mean yearly salary of $95,810 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Individuals who graduate with a degree in music merchandising can pursue several continuing education opportunities, depending upon their chosen interest in the field. Those who are interested in earning positions of high-level management within record studios might consider graduate programs in music business, business administration or organizational leadership. Those individuals who are interested in the retail and sales aspect of the music industry might consider graduate degrees in sales or marketing.
A career in music merchandising begins with degree programs in music merchandising or music business. Students in an associate's program focus on core components, such as music theory and music promotion. Bachelor's and master's programs teach business aspects through courses in economics and marketing, financial accounting, and ethics of the music industry.